“This is the one who came by water and blood–Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (Reference: 1 John 5: 6-12)
[Not that matters much, but this is not the scripture passage that Reading the Anabaptist Bible has for this day – it is a passage on baptism, but not this one]
There are three components of baptism and all three are contained in Jesus Christ. There is the baptism of water which is an external sign of our being cleansed of sin and all of the world that “sticks” to us. (Anabaptists/Mennonites believe a Christian life is lived publicly and so we are accountable for the way we live.) There is the baptism of spirit (or Spirit) that is a presence in our lives and connects us to the Divine. And there is the baptism of blood which is for suffering and sacrifice, ours and Christ’s.
What would we do without each baptism? Without the cleansing and inner change there can be no Spirit in our lives. Without the sacrifice and the giving up of our own agenda there can be no cleansing. And without the Spirit we would still be lost and adrift in a sinful world that keeps us from God and Christ. Thanks be to God (at least according Anabaptist/Mennonite theology) we do not have to be without any of them. All of them are a part of baptism – all we need to do is accept it all.
Just as Anabaptists/Mennonites believe in a triune God, we also believe in a triune baptism. But as I have said in the past few days, this triune baptism is not a static baptism but a living thing. As we grow and mature in our faith, our baptism experience becomes deeper and wider.
You may not believe as the historic Anabaptists and the modern Anabaptists/Mennonites beloved. But I would hope and pray that your faith grows daily, that your outer life matches the convictions that you have in your inner spirit, and that your devotion to God and Christ grows more ever firm. Selah!